adidas has its Stella McCartney line of high-end sports gear. lululemon rushed out of the gate with its pricey yoga and fitness outfits. Arc’teryx makes super engineered technical gear with a price tag to match. Are all of these clothes worth it?
Well … that depends.
All of the lines mentioned above are extremely well made. I happen to live in lululemon; it’s actually a bit of a sickness … but (and a big but here!) they are my office clothes, if you will. These outfits are what I work in all day long and I know they won’t pill, fade, shrink, or tear (I’ve had at least four pairs of leggings split on me over the years).
Stella’s stuff is very street cool, but some of her line actually isn’t practical for exercise. I keep thinking I’m going to move the wrong way and show more than I intended. I love her collection but your body better have lines as sleek as her clothes to confidently wear them without embarassment.
The high-end technical gear is really more for the guys. Designers “engineer” their clothing to withstand, say, “a blizzard on the top of Mount Washington.” How often do you really need to do that?
So here’s my advice for what to splurge on and what you can buy “off the rack”:
Spend on footgear. Your feet carry you through life; do not mess with them! Buy the best sneakers you can afford and change them every six months or so. You need to make sure your feet are properly protected and supported through your workouts. Get sport specific ones if you can; they are more suited to your chosen activity than a pair of cross trainers.
Skip the pricey tops. Let’s be honest: you’re going to sweat in them, they’re going to smell, and fairly soon you’ll have pit stains. Just go for the cheap-o but cute stuff at the big box stores or buy off the sale rack at the pricier stores and toss ‘em when you’re done. Better yet, cut ‘em up for cleaning rags and be a little eco-friendly.
Consider splurging on bottoms. lululemon sells $98 leggings and they sell them in droves all day long. They are a really, really well-designed pant. If all you do is throw on sweats, work out, and then go home and throw them in the washer, then don’t bother spending the money. But if you use them as casual wear as well, or if you are a die-hard exercise fiend, consider spending the money here. You won’t regret it. I have some lulus that are six years old and I still wear them every week. (No I’m not getting paid to endorse them; I just like them that much!)
Spend if you’re serious about your sport. If you’re truly passionate about your sport, spend the money and invest in good pieces. They will be with you for years and won’t fail you at the worst possible moment. From rapelling gear to yoga mats, if you love a particular form of movement, spend the money to do it right.
Spend on socks if you’re a middle to long distance runner. If you’re doing 5Ks or less, you can probably get away with a regular pair of sport socks. But if you rack up any decent weekly mileage numbers, start looking at those $1o to $15 socks. They can help support the arch and keep your feet blister-free, things you’ll be grateful for at mile 10, or beyond.
Are there any high-end brands that you’re in love with? Please share them here, I love to find new lines. Do you think buying pricey clothes helps your workout? Let me know your thoughts.
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